‘Making STEM Diversity a National Priority’

Making STEM Diversity a National Priority

(Image: Black Girls Code)

At the U.S. News & World Report’s STEM Solutions Leadership Conference in San Diego, the opening keynote panel struck a chord of truly focusing on solutions to the country’s STEM crisis. Ably moderated by celebrated astronaut Leland Melvin, who also hosts Lifetime’s Genius Child, the panel, Making STEM Diversity a National Priority, was composed of Wanda Austin, president and CEO, Aerospace Corp.; Antonio Flores, president and CEO, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; Michael Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF; and Timothy White, chancellor, California State University. All the panelists hold doctoral degrees.

[Related: 5 STEM Camps for Kids]

Staying true to the name of the conference, Melvin asked the panelists for their ideas for solving the questions that face our nation: education equity; attracting and retaining more of the underrepresented in STEM; overcoming obstacles to academic and career success in STEM.

The panelists said the following were powerful means of attracting more underrepresented populations to STEM:

  • role models — and making sure the media promotes and celebrates STEM standouts from underrepresented communities, such as the former migrant worker who became an astronaut
  • rigorous K-12 standards — partnerships with institutions of higher learning can create bridges of success for K-12 students in low income communities
  • teachers that affirm and encourage students in STEM subjects
  • articulation agreements with community colleges that serve black and Hispanic student populations
  • micro communities — making sure students of color get attached to small, interest-based communities if they attend large state institutions such as the California State University system

To view a video of the panel–and it is worth viewing–go to http://livestream.com/eventeq/usnewsstemsolutions/videos/91717622.